The JSE opened firmer on Thursday‚ supported by Standard Bank and Gold Fields on upbeat results and a positive trading update from troubled cement producer PPC.
Gold shares were higher after the dollar lost ground against the euro in the wake of the US Federal Reserve minutes. The minutes‚ released on Wednesday‚ indicated seemingly divided views over the timing of future interest-rate increases in the face of weak consumer inflation.
“The dovish minutes resulted in a further cut in expectations of a third interest hike this year by the US central bank‚ which weakened the dollar and improved global appetite for risk‚” said TreasuryOne trader Phillip Pearce.
Spot gold rose 0.36% to $1‚287.64/oz.
The Dow Jones closed 0.12% up at 22‚024.87 points on Wednesday. Asian markets trended weaker on Thursday with the Nikkei 225 off 0.14% and the Hang Seng 0.23%.
Standard Bank reported that headline earnings rose 12% to R12.1bn for the six months to end-June. The return on equity (ROE) improved to 16.1% from 14.1%. Credit impairments dropped 6% at personal and business banking (PBB)‚ which increased headline earnings 11% to R6.1bn.
At 9.30am Standard Bank had risen 1.42% to R166.20.
Gold Fields reported that normalised earnings from continuing operations came in at $80m for the six months to June compared with normalised earnings of US$98m for the six months to June 2016. It was up 4.9% at R54.58.
PPC’s share price jumped 14% at one point after it posted an upbeat operational update for the June quarter. At 9.31am it was 9.74% up at R3.83.
At 9.31am the all share was 0.26% higher at 55‚678 points and the blue-chip top 40 added 0.21%. The gold index rose 3.17%‚ banks 1.15%‚ platinum 0.84%‚ resources 0.79% and general retailers 0.66%. Industrials softened 0.05%.
BHP rose 0.84% to R234.75 and Anglo American 0.72% to R220.58.
Among retailers‚ Woolworths rose 0.84% to R64.54. Massmart jumped 2.74% to R113.59.
In the property sector‚ Growthpoint gained 0.40% to R25.14 and Attacq 0.27% to R18.39.
Naspers weakened 0.49% to R2‚872.99.
Curro Holdings was up 0.68% to R41.66.
Source: TMG Digital.